Given the late hour an imminent kick-off, solving the NSW halves dilemna and a wee think-piece on crowds are going to have to take a back seat to a quickie on tonight’s game and Game of the Week. So I’ll make it snappy (as much as making it ‘snappy’ and eschewing verbosity engages my gag reflex), but throw in a couple of charts that might be useful.
Friday Night Football – Roosters vs Bulldogs
Picking the Roosters this week shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, given what transpired in Canberra last week, you just never know what they’re going to serve up. Having tried to lose the Warriors game, they perfected it against the Raiders. Aided by the blowout vs the Eels, the Roosters point-scoring progress looks like this:
It shows an ability to score throughout the match with relative regularity, as well as having an awesome first-half defensive record. The Rabbitohs are the only team to score against the Roosters in the 1st half, in fact. The 50-70 minute mark is a weak point where the opposition tend to close the gap.
For the Bulldogs, this might be a problem because they have been unable to post a significant amount of points in that period of matches. In fact, their weak point for scoring extends from all the way from the 30th minute right through until the 70th minute. This is where they are losing their matches, allowing the opposition to score, while struggling to post points themselves. That’s quite a block, isn’t it? And if you’re only scoring 13.6 points per match, on average, then you can’t allow this kind of imbalance. Check it out:
And they won’t get away with a win tonight against a Roosters outfit who average 21.2 points per match, who are trying to make up for an insipid 2nd half against the Raiders, and are at home. Pitting the form of the two teams against each other, this is how recent form suggests this game will play out, and I’m not going to argue about it:
Game of the Week – Rabbitohs vs Storm
This will be a cracker, and I just hope the Rabbitohs don’t allow the occasion to get to them. Being at home should help. As I’ve mentioned before, they have the ability to blow any team off the park, including Melbourne. Once they completely click and really unleash, then look out. This is how their form has been travelling thus far:
The Rabbitohs are quick out of the blocks, particularly in comparison to the Storm. They also coast home from about 60 minutes onward, the Warriors match being a notable, and fortunate, exception. When you have the average game won by then, I suppose you can expect that type of reaction. Still, they failed to reach the summit last year partly because they couldn’t master the 80-minute game, clocking off repeatedly. This has remained so far this year, and I’ll maintain until I’m blue in the face (and talk in cliches until the cows come home), that if they don’t practice it and get it right, they won’t be able to conjure it when it counts.
Until last week, the Form Tracker had the Rabbitohs edging the Storm. It has slightly turned now after the better win for the Storm last week. Bear in mind we’re measuring the form up until this point and that these two teams haven’t faced off yet. In any case:
As the year has unfolded so far, the Storm have been vulnerable immediately after half-time. Almost half the total points scored against them have been in the 40-55 minute window.
I’ll go against the thrust of the Form Tracker in this case, and expect the Rabbitohs to defend their little warren, and proceed to the 7th round as the only undefeated side.